Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Which women do you know, Mr. Kilcullen?

"Made my blood boil."  I'd heard that phrase, but I had yet to experience it fully.  Thank goodness for Stephen Kilcullen, who was able to provide that experience by writing this column about why women shouldn't serve in the Army Rangers (here).

He trotted out these hoary old saws:  "it's not about the individual, it's about the military" (as a reason why women shouldn't bother asking to serve in the Rangers as a way of increasing their experience and raising their odds of promotion); "women get to do almost everything else" (so they shouldn't be presumptuous enough to ask to do what their male colleagues do); "it's all about morale" (yep, that worked equally well when folks in the military said that it would wreck morale to have (a) minorities in the military, (b) gays in the military, and (c) women in the military); and "it's an all-volunteer force" (which means, I guess, that people who serve shouldn't feel bad if there's an unbreakable ceiling on their careers).

I don't know which women you know, Mr. Kilcullen.  The ones I know who choose a military career are perfectly capable of planning and executing missions.  They're not any more squeamish than their male counterparts are, and they understand that military careers include a lot of bloodshed, risk, and sacrifice. 

My sister-in-law, for example, was just as capable as any of her colleagues were in the Air Force and would (in fact, did) happily volunteer for some pretty scary missions during her military career.  My guess is that she's still working for the military, albeit now as a civilian, because the military recognizes her value.  With a Van Niel, pretty much all of them can be equally dedicated and aggressive against enemies, both foreign and domestic.

So, Mr. Kilcullen, look around you.  I'll bet that there are a lot of women out there who would do a better job as a Ranger than you would.

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